In 2009, the CPUC issued a Decision adopting General Order (GO) 133-C, which specifies telephone service quality standards for network technical quality, customer service, installation, repairs, and billing. As a result of this Decision, the CPUC issued its Telephone Carrier Service Quality Report” in March 2011. This report showed sub-standard service quality based on data provided by telephone companies, as well as provided information regarding outages in AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks impacting 250,000 customers in Southern California during the winter storms of December 2010 and January 2011.
In December 2011, the CPUC initiated a Rulemaking to:
- Review telephone companies’ performance in meeting service quality standards.
- Assess whether existing GO 133-C service quality standards and measures are adequate and relevant to the current market and regulatory environment.
- Assess whether there is a need to establish a penalty mechanism for sub-standard service performance.
In May 2012, the CPUC issued Ruling requiring telephone carriers to provide data on issues such as:
- Winter outages of 2010-2011
- Internal standards for service quality
- How networks are monitored
- Industry best practices
In February 2013, the CPUC issued a Decision directing CPUC staff to hire a consultant to evaluate telecommunications facilities, and ordered AT&T and Verizon to split proportionally the costs of the study based on their respective share of total intrastate revenues. The cost of the study was capped at $1.5 million. The CPUC has not yet performed this study.
2014 CPUC Staff Report
In September 2014, the CPUC issued a Ruling asking parties to comment on its Staff Report, “California Wireline Telephone Service Quality Pursuant to General Order 133-C, Calendar Years 2010 Through 2013,” which includes:
- Data on the performance of wireline carriers under the CPUC’s current measurement and reporting standards.
- Findings that AT&T and Verizon failed to meet standards for Out of Service Repair Intervals and Verizon failed to meet standards for Answer Time.
- Recommendations to adopt:
- A penalty / incentive methodology
- Modifications to the methodology of Out of Service Repair Intervals
- Service quality rules on interconnected VoIP and wireless carriers
2015 CPUC Staff Report
In February 2015, the CPUC issued another Staff Report via a Ruling and seeking stakeholder input. The Staff Report proposes modifications to General Order 133-C that would require:
- 911 and disaster outage reporting
- Reporting outages concurrent with FCC Network Outage Reporting
- Network outage reports for Interconnected VoIP
CPUC Proposed Modifications to Reporting Outages and Disruptions for Communications Services
On December 29, 2015, the CPUC issued a Ruling proposing updates to its General Order 133-C regarding telephone service quality standards. The CPUC Ruling proposes to adopt the FCC's rules for reporting communications disruptions and outages for all communications entities under CPUC jurisdiction (aka Network Outage Reports System - NORS).
ORA's Policy Position
Modification to CPUC Rules for Service Quality Standards
ORA supports the CPUC’s Service Quality Rulemaking to require interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and wireless providers to provide a copy of their Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) reports, which they file with the FCC. NORS reports provide relevant public safety information that the CPUC should monitor to ensure the reliability and quality of services provided by all telephone corporations. As the number of VoIP California subscribers continue to increase due to the adoption of newer technologies, it is necessary to monitor all service outages to ensure that California consumers can rely on their telephone service.
See ORA's February 12, 2016 Comments on updates to CPUC General Order 133-C.
CPUC Staff Reports
ORA supports key elements of the February 2015 Staff Report, including:
- Requiring customer refunds for service outages when the level of such outages exceed established standards.
- Imposing penalties for failing to meet the minimum standards.
- Reporting outages concurrent with FCC Network Outage Reporting.
- Requiring 911 and disaster outage reporting.
- Extending the application of the minimum service quality and reliability standards to wireless and all interconnected VoIP service providers.
ORA makes further recommendations, including:
- Lowering the threshold for reporting major outages to 90,000 user minutes from 900,000 user minutes in order to ensure significant outages are reported, particularly in rural areas.
- Requiring outage reporting to include not just customer-initiated trouble reports but also outages discoverable by telephone corporations.
- Completing the independent evaluation ordered by the CPUC in February 2013 to gauge the condition of the telecommunications infrastructure and facilities in the state and provide the basis for ensuring that they can support a level of service consistent with public safety and reliability.
See ORA’s March 30, 2015 Opening Comments on the February 2, 2015 CPUC Staff Report.
ORA expects to file Reply Comments on April 17, 2015 on the 2015 CPUC Staff Report.
See ORA’s October 24, 2014 Opening Comments on the CPUC’s September 2014 Staff Report.
See ORA’s November 13, 2014 Reply Comments on the CPUC’s September 2014 Staff Report.
See the Proceeding docket.
Telecommunications Carriers’ Service Quality Reports